TCPA & Regulatory Compliance Guide for Contact Centers

Call Center Compliance Resource Center​

Take advantage of these compliance resources including news, guides, webinars, ebooks, and FAQs on compliance topics such as TCPA, state regulations, STIR/SHAKEN, Do Not Call registries, and more.

The information on this page and related links is provided for general education purposes only and is not legal advice. Convoso does not guarantee the accuracy or appropriateness of this information to your situation. You are solely responsible for using Convoso’s services in a legally compliant way and should consult your legal counsel for compliance advice. Any quotes are solely the views of the quoted person and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Convoso.

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Guide to TCPA Compliance

As the predominant statute governing outbound calling and telemarketing, abiding by the TCPA is absolutely essential for sales and lead gen teams. Get a crash course in TCPA compliance with this guide and the additional resources below.

What is the TCPA?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was passed by Congress in 1991 to regulate telemarketing calls, auto-dialed calls, prerecorded calls, text messages, and unsolicited faxes. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the consumer protection authority monitoring the National Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is empowered to issue rules and regulations implementing the TCPA.

What does the TCPA prohibit?

The TCPA’s provisions cover and prohibit a wide range of call center and telemarketing activities, including:

Automatic Telephone Dialing Systems (ATDS)

Generally speaking, the TCPA prohibits using an ATDS or prerecorded message to contact cell phones, and prerecorded telemarketing messages to contact residential phones, unless the recipient has provided and not revoked “consent” to receive the call/text.

Do Not Call (DNC) Registry and Internal Lists

An amendment to the TCPA prohibits marketers from calling numbers listed on the federal DNC registry unless an exemption applies. (Many states also have their own, separate DNC lists.) In addition, companies must maintain their own internal DNC list of consumers who have requested to no longer be called or texted.

Identification and Disclosure Requirements

The law requires callers to provide their name, company name, and contact information, among other items, while on the phone with the consumer.

Calling Times

Companies can only attempt to contact consumers between 8:00AM and 9:00PM in the consumer’s time zone. Note, however, that many individual states have their own separate restrictions on call times.

 

 

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TCPA FAQs

What does the TCPA cover?

The TCPA was designed to safeguard consumer privacy by restricting companies from engaging in unwanted telemarketing communications practices and over time, the FCC interpreted the TCPA to also cover text-based telemarketing or telesales. Enforcement of the TCPA’s regulations is constantly evolving, and you should consult with an attorney informed about the most current rulings and how they apply to your call center operation.

For more details on the latest rulings and developments related to TCPA compliance, explore our coverage of the latest TCPA compliance trends.

What is TCPA compliance?

TCPA compliance refers to an organization or individual’s adherence to TCPA regulations, which cover a broad range of topics related to dialing and outreach practices for both marketing and non-marketing purposes. Convoso recommends seeking independent legal counsel to ensure that your contact center is compliant with the TCPA.

A few examples of TCPA rules include:

  • All lists/leads need to be scrubbed against the Do-Not-Call (DNC) list
  • Gathering express-written consent from leads is required if you are using an autodialer that falls under the TCPA’s definition of an ATDS
  • Dialing leads with pre-recorded messages or automated assistants (such as IVA solutions) is prohibited without express-written consent

What is a TCPA compliant autodialer?

The TCPA applies to a variety of different outbound dialing practices, so the use of a particular dialer will never guarantee TCPA compliance.

However, some dialers come with settings and tools that can help support TCPA compliant practices. Moreover, the TCPA does specifically place limits on the use of automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS). Namely the TCPA requires that, in order to use an ATDS to contact cell phones, the caller must obtain the prior express written consent of the recipient.

What the FCC deems an ATDS is a matter that’s changed quite a bit over time and is still a focal point of current case law. While the TCPA statutes define an ATDS as “equipment which has the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator, and to dial such numbers,” the courts have nevertheless previously held that a predictive dialer constitutes an ATDS. In this case, leads must provide express-written consent before they can be dialed.

While Convoso does not utilize either of these techniques, we highly recommend continuing to gather express-written consent from leads. Not only will this help support TCPA compliance, but it will help ensure that you’re calling quality, higher-intent leads that have an interest in your products or services.

Learn the 5 critical steps to consent-based marketing.

Can you use a predictive dialer and be TCPA compliant?

Yes, but the dialer itself will never guarantee TCPA compliance. Convoso recommends seeking independent counsel to review your predictive dialer and dialing practices to ensure that you are in compliance with the TCPA.

Dig deeper with 10 outbound dialing best practices for compliance and performance.

Does the TCPA govern manually dialed calls?

Yes. The TCPA regulates all types of outbound contact via telephone. This includes autodialed and manual calls, as well as outbound text messages, faxes, voice messages, and automatic dialing systems.

Does the TCPA cover emails?

No. In 2019, a federal court ruled that outbound emails are not subject to TCPA rules, even when they are received on a smartphone.

Does the TCPA cover ringless voicemail?

The FCC considers considers a ringless voicemail to be a call made using an artificial or prerecorded voice. For this reason, under the TCPA, a caller must obtain the recipient’s prior express written consent before delivering a ringless voicemail, as well as comply with other prerecorded message requirements.

What is the maximum abandonment rate allowed by the TCPA?

An amendment to the TCPA restricts the allowable call abandonment rate. Each separate campaign is allowed a maximum abandonment rate of 3% under the TCPA. This rate is measured in increments of 30 days. The abandonment rate can be calculated as follows: (Total number of calls abandoned / (The total number of calls answered by a live person plus total number of abandoned calls)) x 100

How long does TCPA consent last?

Consent obtained for the sake of the TCPA does not have an expiration date. However, it may be revoked by the consumer at any time. Additionally, the consent is tied to the individual consumer, not the phone number itself. Thus, when a phone number is transferred to another user, a business does not necessarily maintain consent to call that number. Lastly, your consumer consent is only valid if it can be proven. Consent record-keeping is a critical component of any TCPA compliance policy. Experts recommend keeping records of express written consent for 5 years in order to help bolster protection against legal action.

What is the penalty for a TCPA violation?

The TCPA allows for a fine of up to $500 per violation. When violations are determined by a court to be willful, TCPA fines are tripled, and levied up to $1,500 per violation. In addition, there is no cap on statutory damages—and violations can quickly add up to damaging sums.

Does the TCPA apply to calls to businesses?

Yes. B2B and B2C calls and texts are subject to the same wireless restrictions under the TCPA.

What is Mini-TCPA?

“MIni-TCPA” is not an official designation, but is a term that has been commonly adopted to refer to state telemarketing laws. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2021 holding in Facebook v. Duguid, many states are updating state-specific telemarketing legislation.

Learn about the Convoso StateTracker, a purpose-built tool to support outbound sales teams with Mini-TCPA compliance.

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DNC Compliance Resources

The TCPA also laid the groundwork for another critical aspect of contact center compliance: the Do Not Call (DNC) registry. DNC compliance, at both the federal and state level, is crucial to protecting the health and reputation of your business.

What is DNC Compliance?

Supporting DNC compliance involves implementing proper scrubbing and list management practices in order to avoid calling consumers registered within state, federal, and internal DNC lists. Learn more about registering with the federal DNC at the following sites:

Official Government Do Not Call regulatory sites

Since the rollout of the National Do Not Call Registry in 2003, certain states have merged their DNC programs with the federal list. Still, a number of states maintain separate DNC lists that must be accounted for. Those states that manage and regulate their own states have registrants who may or may not be shared/have duplicate information with the federal list. It’s important that you review each individual state’s law where you’ll be calling prior to running your campaign.

In addition, to maintain DNC compliance federal law requires that businesses maintain their own internal DNC lists. To streamline this process and make complying with TCPA regulations simpler, software is available.

What Is the Penalty for Violating Do Not Call Rules?

Federal DNC violations carry a fine of up to $50,120 under the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and can subject the violator to statutory damages and forfeitures under the TCPA. While state-level state DNC violation penalties vary by jurisdiction, the fines range anywhere from $100 to $25,000, according to our partners at DNC.com.

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STIR/SHAKEN Resources

What is STIR/SHAKEN?

STIR/SHAKEN are acronyms for the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) standards. This means that calls traveling through interconnected phone networks would have their caller ID “signed” as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers.

STIR/SHAKEN FAQs

STIR/SHAKEN is an industry-wide initiative to restore trust in voice communications. Its goal is to prevent fraudsters from scamming consumers and businesses through robocalls and illegal phone number spoofing, while making sure that legitimate calls reach the recipient. STIR/SHAKEN doesn’t “prohibit” particular practices, rather it holds call centers accountable for their actions with attestation ratings.
  • Within the STIR/SHAKEN network, phone carriers will assign an A, B or C attestation, or verification, rating:
  • ‘A’ represents ‘Full Attestation’ or the carrier knows the identity of the caller and knows the caller has the right to use the phone number as the calling number.
  • ‘B’ represents ‘Partial Attestation’ or the carrier knows the identity of the caller but does not know if the caller has the right to use the phone number as the calling number.
  • ‘C’ represents ‘Gateway Attestation’ – When A or B cannot be satisfied, C is assigned. International calls are given C attestation.
FCC rules require providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN in the Internet Protocol (IP) portions of their networks by the 2021 deadline, so that Americans can benefit from this important technology and start to have faith in their phone calls again.
The deadline was June 30, 2021. Please contact your provider or legal counsel for more information on deadlines and extensions.
STIR/SHAKEN will have the original carrier “sign” a call with an attestation rating:
  • The three attestation levels:
    • A rating – the highest attestation level, means that the carrier is fully confident in the identity of the caller and their right to use that specific number and caller ID
    • B rating – the carrier knows who is making the call, but they aren’t sure if the caller is allowed to use that number or caller ID
    • C rating –  a gateway attestation,  means that the carrier can’t validate the caller’s identity or right to use the number/ caller ID
By now, the deadline for implementation has passed for most businesses. If you have not implemented STIR/SHAKEN protocols, there are a number of steps businesses can take:
  • Businesses should contact their carrier(s) to inquire about their STIR/SHAKEN implementation and whether they can ensure their calls receive an “A” rating.
  • If a business finds that it is having trouble with calls being blocked, it should work with a service to rotate calling numbers used, or preferably, validate its calling with the carriers and their analytics partners.
  • Businesses should conduct test calls and report inaccurate labels or blocking to the carrier or app provider.
In addition, outbound call centers should work directly with their dialer provider to make sure they are fully equipped to manage STIR/SHAKEN. Ask your dialer:
  • How have they prepared and responded to STIR/SHAKEN?
  • What is the highest attestation rating they are able to provide?
  • Are they signing calls themselves or are they going through a 3rd party to sign the calls? (if the latter, B rating is the highest possible) 
Note: those using open-source or self-hosted dialers (e.g., VICIdial) will be at risk as they will not be able to get an A rating. Learn more about the hidden costs of VICIdial and other free dialers.
The Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act was signed into law on December 30, 2019. In addition to granting the FCC and law enforcement greater authority to prosecute fraudulent robocallers, the Act required the FCC to mandate the STIR/SHAKEN framework in order to combat fraudulent caller ID spoofing.
Convoso has developed functionality to accommodate STIR/SHAKEN and has the ability to sign an A-level attestation as appropriate for our customers. As the top dialer for sales and lead generation teams, Convoso is required to go through due diligence procedures to make sure customers are who they say they are.

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Since 2019, outbound contact centers have seen a major spike in their phone numbers being flagged or blocked. The wave of illegal robocalling activity in the United States has forced both regulators and carriers to take action to prevent illegal spoofing and robodialing. 

Due to safe harbor laws that allow telecommunications providers to broadly flag and block phone numbers, even if they are associated with legitimate businesses, many outbound contact centers find that their numbers are regularly flagged and blocked.

Outbound sales and lead generation teams need better tools to track and manage caller IDs if they’re going to combat the impact of call blocking and flagging.

With Convoso’s ClearCallerID™, outbound dialing teams can quickly identify flagged and blocked phone numbers so they can swap them out before they impact critical KPIs. Customer dashboards show how many phone numbers have been flagged or blocked and estimates the impact on metrics such as contact rates.

Support Compliance with State Regulations

As the number of state laws regulating outreach to consumers is on the rise, businesses have more rules to adhere to or risk expensive fines. Convoso’s  StateTracker™ is the only solution purpose-built to support outbound sales teams with daily attempt maximums required by state “Mini-TCPA” styled laws.

This feature is available exclusively to Convoso customers.  Learn more about Convoso StateTracker.

Contact Center Compliance

To support compliance, businesses don’t just need the help of legal experts. They also need technology experts on their side—and tools they can trust to respond to the ever-changing landscape of call center compliance.

For outbound sales and lead gen teams, choosing the right outbound dialer should be at the heart of any plan to support TCPA compliance. Look for a dialer that offers the following TCPA compliance solutions and software to build a compliance approach that doesn’t stand in the way of scaling your contact center.

At Convoso, a main concern is supporting customer compliance by offering tools for configuring campaigns with compliance in mind. We do so by offering a suite of tools designed to maximize efficiency, protection, and performance—and by constantly innovating to help you keep up with ever-changing regulations.

Automation

Call center automation tools are revolutionizing the way businesses manage their teams and reach their customers. Supporting TCPA compliance is no different. Today’s software can (and yours should be able to) automate list management protocols and minimize the risk of human error in the high-velocity contact center environment.

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Multiple Dial Modes

To support compliance, high-volume call centers need to take different dialing approaches based on the level of consumer consent they possess from a lead. Choosing a dialer software with the ability to switch between dialing modes and maintain a high-level of efficiency no matter who you’re calling is important to driving growth. For example, you might decide to use a powerful predictive dialer to reach leads with express-written consent and a preview dialer for leads without it. (Whenever possible, Convoso recommends obtaining express-written consent before dialing any leads, regardless of how you ultimately reach out to them, and consulting your legal counsel before making a decision.)

DNC Scrubbing

TCPA regulations and other related rules prohibit businesses from calling consumers who have registered on federal, state, and internal do-not-call lists unless an exemption applies. Leading dialer software offers automated and efficient DNC scrubbing tools to save teams time on supporting compliance.

Dynamic Scripting

From license numbers to company addresses and more, proper TCPA-compliant disclosures can be a mouthful for agents to say and a lot for them to remember. All the more so if your team is dialing within multiple states with their own separate standards. Dynamic scripting software equips agents with the campaign- and location-specific scripts they need to help maintain compliance—and close conversions.

Customizable Call Times

On top of the TCPA call time restrictions, time zones and widely varying individual state laws can make calling your customers only at compliant times a complex task. Your dialer system should offer the ability to call strictly during permitted hours.

Easy Call Recording and Call Log Management

Reviewing calls to ensure your operation is staying compliant is a routine part of supporting TCPA compliance, but it doesn’t need to be tedious or time-consuming. Choose a call center software system that makes it easy to access recorded calls, as well as locate call logs to review them for any issues with compliance.

Click-to-Dial Options

Take extra precaution with a click-to-dial solution that supports compliant dialing in situations when it’s preferred that agents manually initiate every call

Convoso's Approach to TCPA Compliance Support

Successfully navigating the world of telemarketing and its regulations is challenging without the right technology solutions. Convoso helps businesses in their compliance efforts by implementing smart dialing strategies and dynamic software tools. The cloud-based platform is designed to easily manage leads and communications down to the second. Convoso’s omnichannel contact center software drives efficiencies across leads, agents, and managers. 

Click-to-Comply

Convoso’s Click-to-Comply™ dialer product supports compliant dialing in accordance with TCPA requirements.

With Click-to-Comply, your contact center agents are required to manually initiate every call. After the call is started, the agent remains on the line throughout the call life cycle (call initiated, call connected/not connected, call ended).

In addition to supporting compliance, our Click-to-Comply solution transforms your call center’s efficiency and improves ROI. How do we do this? It’s all about our omnichannel capabilities, combined with a better way of cycling through your leads as well as powerful reporting capabilities to understand your profitability at the list and lead source level.

Caller ID Reputation Management

Carriers are blocking and flagging calls more aggressively than ever. Unfortunately, well-meaning, legitimate businesses trying to contact leads who have raised their hands to be contacted are getting caught in the web. And when calls are flagged as “Spam” or “Scam Likely,” contact rates and call center ROI plummet. In this environment, caller ID reputation management strategies and solutions are critical to ensuring your agents can contact expensive leads and drive growth for your business. 

Only Convoso’s ClearCallerID™ gives you a full suite of tools and services to manage your caller ID reputation, improve contact rates, and protect the performance of your business. 

Learn more about these capabilities and the support offered by our caller ID reputation management solutions.

Additional Call Flagging and Blocking Resources

Keeping It Compliant: Legal Aspects of Running an Outbound Call Center

As your partner, compliance is our number one concern. So much so, that we are active Board of Director members for Consumer Consent (an organization dedicated to ethical compliance throughout the lead generation industry).
We not only understand the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and state teleservices laws and regulations, but we also actively engage with regulators, top compliance attorneys and business advocates, to the benefit of our partners. Our platform has been developed and maintained to support comprehensive compliance, providing you with the ability to practice safe dialing. Our product roadmap is often dictated by the same compliance guidelines that we help to influence, so our command of keeping you safe is far superior to other less sophisticated platform providers in the industry.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this page and related links is provided for general education purposes only and is not legal advice. Convoso does not guarantee the accuracy or appropriateness of this information to your situation. You are solely responsible for using Convoso’s services in a legally compliant way and should consult your legal counsel for compliance advice. Any quotes are solely the views of the quoted person and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Convoso.

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